float·​ing-point ˈflō-tiŋ-ˌpȯint How to pronounce floating-point (audio)
variants or floating point
: using or involving a notation in which a number is represented as a number with an absolute value between 1 and the base (see base entry 1 sense 4e(2)) multiplied by a power of the number base indicated by an exponent (as in 4.52E2 for 452 in base 10)
A floating point operation requires at least several thousand elementary binary operations.Geoffrey Murray
If a simple operation like multiplying floating-point numbers would require a set of instructions, then a procedure of any useful scale would involve putting many such sets of instructions together.Andrew Hodges
compare fixed-point, scientific notation

Word History

First Known Use

1948, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of floating-point was in 1948

Dictionary Entries Near floating-point

Cite this Entry

“Floating-point.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/floating-point. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: involving or being a system of representing numbers (as in computer programming) in which a quantity is written as a number multiplied by a power of that number's base
999.9 can be expressed in a floating-point system as 9.999 × 102
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